Tips from anyone who owns a boat?

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Weekend Warrior
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Tips from anyone who owns a boat?

Post by jayd305 »

What would you guys recommend for a first time boat seeker? I am looking for a boat, not too expensive, maybe 15K tops. It will be for 3 or 4 people max. And I don't plan on going too deep in the water either, I'm just looking for something I can go in to deeper waters.

Also, it probably won't be used very often, maybe once or twice a month if that.

I need to know the things to look for. I've seen a lot of boats that are in the price range I'm looking for and that look very good like some Hydra's and others. But I'm not sure if that's what they usually sell for or if they are priced that way because something is wrong. They are usually 2006 models or older. I saw a boat for example that wants like 16K. The boat is from 1990 but the engines from 2004. It looks in good condition but I don't know if it's a good buy or not. Any tips on what to look for, what to ask, or what can I do so I can be sure to get something that won't leave me stranded on my first or 2nd or many trips to come?

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Re: Tips from anyone who owns a boat?

Post by Miamipescador »

I would reccomend for you to wait till a friend buys a boat :dude:
My dad and i have had a Sea Ray 32 foot sundancer with twin 350 mercs for about 6 years or so.
There's always something you have to fix or some maintenance you gotta do to it, gets pretty expensive. He just had to have the starboard motor completely rebuilt and that cost a pretty penny as well.
He's got the boat on the water.

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Re: Tips from anyone who owns a boat?

Post by joenofishhere »

Just make sure you have a certified mechanic look it over before you buy it. I like yamahas, but truth be told all engines break, just think yamaha and mercs have more mechanics who can work on them. You could probably get a bay boat and make it offshore on calm days and be able to fish parts of flamingo as well. I run to the reefs in my skiff occasionally. Hasn't happened in a while but in the summer I'll make it happen a few times. Check for any soft spots on the deck or hull, and look for any fractures in the hull that may have been repaired. Lots of older boats are still in great shape, but if you look around for a while and beginning to get a grasp of price range for certain makes and models you'll know when a good deal comes up. I got mine of craigslist, but the FS Boatstore used to be good, boattrader is alright, and lots of forums have pages (microskiff,maverick etc).
Walk slow, and carry a big Snook.

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Re: Tips from anyone who owns a boat?

Post by cudaman »

jayd305 wrote:what can I do so I can be sure to get something that won't leave me stranded on my first or 2nd or many trips to come?
There is nothing you can do, a boat will break down no matter what even if it's brand spanking new.

But seriously, any 22 to 25 footer will do. Dusky, Hydra, Grady-White, Mako, etc... The engine is what you need to look for that should be newer, and take a certified mechanic to take a look at it. And what ever you do stay away form Bayliners. Just my 2 cents

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Re: Tips from anyone who owns a boat?

Post by crashmister »

For what you want to do I'd say a 21 to 25+- CC on a trailer with a 4 stroke outboard. Your problem is going to be lack of use. Worst thing you can do with any boat is not use it. Unless you can store it in a temp controlled environment. Water condensates in the fuel tank fouling the fuel. It's less of a problem if you keep the tanks full all the time, and even less if you install seperators. A good set of water seperators are worth their weight in gold. They do need to be checked and cleaned regularly. It's a bit more expensive but using premium fuel helps as well.
Next will be your electrical system. Every connection should be soldered. I also epoxy and shrinkwrap every splice, crimp, or tap. Never had a problem. Terminations, plugs, and switches are a different story. The best advise I ever got was don't go cheap. Costs you far more in the long run. I use Military grade switches for everything. As often as stock switches go bad, you'll want to keep some on hand. Here's a link to what I use.
You want to coat your termanal/fuse board with a good water displacement product. They make several for this purpose & most any will do fine. WD40 is OK but not what I would use. Mercury Marine makes an excellent product for this, I use it on both the connector and the termination. Then screw it down and wipe off the excess. Again, never had a problem.
For motor and impeller maintence, (Lower end) There's a bit more you can do than just rinsing off the lower unit. Take a 30 galon plastic garbage can, with the boat on the trailer lower the motor to the run position. Place the GC so the lower unit in in the GC clearing the prop. Pour 2 gallons of plain white vinegar in the GC and fill with water about 3/4 full. Run the motor in gear at idle or just above for 10 min. let sit for an hour and repeat. Do this 2 or 3 times. The vinegar will disolve the salt in the cooling system without damaging anything. You'll never overheat.
Last is trailer maint. If you trailer, you need to know that you never want to submerge hot berrings in water. Instead get to the ramp early and let em sit for for a bit. Also helps to have dust caps on the wheel bearings with grease fittings. Give em a pump of grease every few times you use it. head's off allot of problems. Trailer lights, you want sealed unit's if it dosen't have em already.
If you wait for things to break you'll be working on your boat far more often than if you prevent problem's in the first place. I've owned and worked on dozens of boats over the years. I can tell you first hand the saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" was never truer than with a boat. Just be sure to change filters and fluids as reccommended, and follow the advise above (You can do everything in an afternoon on a small boat on a trailer) and you'll spend most of your time enjoying it. Good luck!

PS I agree with Cuda about Bayliners, and Hydrosports have a bad habit of dolphining.
Nice Boat! Now get it outa my driveway!

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Re: Tips from anyone who owns a boat?

Post by jayd305 »

Great info guys, thanks!!

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Re: Tips from anyone who owns a boat?

Post by diggin4grouper »

things to look for

1. holes that are unplugged in the transom , where screws have been removed
2. with the motor trimmed in the up position have some one stand on the motor and bounce
if you see the transom flex at any point walk away from it , as the transom needs to be replaced !
3. open all the hatches and look for standing water , if you see any look at the fiberglass and if its turning white means it has water between the layers of glass
4. stand on every inch of deck space , if it feels soft at any point walk away from the boat !
5. if all the above check out and your happy , see if you can get the owner to put it in the water for a test drive to check the motor

Become A Boat Detective

Whether you employ a surveyor or not, you should know some of the things to look for if you have decided to buy a used boat. A keen eye, a good ear and a checklist will lead you to potential problems. Some of the things to look for are:

Mismatched paint. This could indicate that the boat has been in an accident and had repairs made. Although this in and of itself may not disqualify the boat, if you were not told of the repairs what else might you not have been told about?
Does the keel run true in a straight line fore and aft? Is is straight horizontally?
Do you see any apparent water lines inside the boat or on the engine. Look for a line that separates a rust free area on the engine and an lower area with a lot of rust. This could indicate that the boat took on water.
On an inboard, does the shaft turn true or does it wobble? What about the prop - any nicks or cracks?
Take hold of the prop and try to move it up and down and sideways. You should not be able to move it much. If you can, you have a worn cutlass bearing.
Take a small rubber or phenol hammer and lightly tap the hull moving around the boat. If you hear voids in the fiberglass, that could be a problem of repairs, blisters, or delamination.
Walk around the decks and on the bow - you shouldn't find soft spots.
How are the floors inside? Any soft spots?
Is the steering free and easy to move?
Is the upholstery in good shape?
Check around hatches and windows - do you see water stains inside? If so, these will have to be rebedded to keep the rain and spray out.
Is there any musty/moldy smell inside? This could indicate leakage, prior water damage or simply neglect.
Make sure it is legal with all required equipment.
Are the handrails bolted through and not just screwed to the surface? Are they secure?
Look at the transom and check the hull identification number. Does it look like it has been modified? Does it match the number on the registration and or title.
When you start the engine do you have good water flow?
Check belts and hoses for cracks or wear. Even with low hours on an engine(s), rubber deteriorates just sitting.
Check the oil and instead of wiping the stick with a cloth use your fingers, do you feel any grit? What is the color? How does it smell? Does it smell burned. You might want to send a sample of it and the transmission fluid to a lab for testing.
Check the transmission fluid with the same process as the oil.
Check the impeller and while you are looking at it throw it away and replace it with a new one.
Check the strainer(s) for debris and clean if necessary.
Test the seacocks to make sure they open and close.
Does the transmission shift easily or does it "clunk?"
See if you can get the maintenance records and review how the boat has been maintained in the past. Also look for reccurring problems.
See if you can find the previous owner(s) and ask about the boat.
Check both the BUC and NADA books to determine value range for this model and year. You can get these books at any boat dealer or a bank that does boat loans.
If you are looking at an inboard/outboard make sure the tilt motor works properly.
If you are looking at an outboard look under the cover for excessive corrosion.

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